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Brownrigg, Jenny (2014)
Publisher: Museums Etc
Languages: English
Types: Part of book or chapter of book
Subjects:
My chapter ‘Contemporary Curating in a Heritage Context’ appears in new publication ‘Advancing Engagement’ in ‘A Handbook for Academic Museums’. It details my approach to curating the public exhibitions programme in the Mackintosh Museum, Mackintosh Building, The Glasgow School of Art, from 2009-2014.\ud \ud The Mackintosh Museum, built in 1909, is at the heart of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterwork, The Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building. With its high level of architectural detail, influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, and Mackintosh’s fascination with Japanese architecture and culture, the museum is the antithesis of the white cube model.\ud \ud This chapter explores how contemporary curating can engage with a specific historical context, in terms of people, place and collection. It also examines how contemporary art practice, through the commissioning process, can become the bridge between the historical and the contemporary. How can an exhibition echo the unique attitude of the building to enable past, present and future to exist simultaneously? In what ways can curators work to contextualize heritage with contemporary practice, to provide innovative access points for diverse audiences including tourists seeking the historical and academic audiences seeking the contemporary?\ud \ud To establish the background, the chapter begins by broadly describing the conditions of curating exhibition programmes for UK Higher Education Art and Design Institutions. It then defines the context at The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and goes on to outline my own curatorial methodologies relating to working within this particular environment.
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    • 1. Council for Higher Education in Art and Design (CHEAD) http://www.chead.ac.uk/ overview. The Galleries Network was formed in 2009.
    • 2. University Museums Group http://universitymuseumsgroup.wordpress.com/ about/.
    • 3. University Museums in Scotland http://www.umis.ac.uk/about/.
    • 4. Research Academic Framework http://www.ref.ac.uk/ is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK Higher Education Institutions, with research excellence informing research funding.
    • 5. The Glasgow School of Art has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees validated by the University of Glasgow. In Scotland, the remaining three higher education art schools have merged over the last eighteen year period with universities. Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, founded in 1892, became part of University of Dundee in 1996; Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen, founded in 1885 is now part of Robert Gordon University; and Edinburgh College of Art was the most recent to merge, in 2011, with University of Edinburgh.
    • 6. Grizedale Arts is an artists' residency and curatorial project which engages with a rural context whilst developing multi-site projects that occur locally, nationally and internationally. I worked as Projects Oficer from 2000 to 2002 following a writer's residency there in 1999. www.grizedale.org.
    • 7. The Immortals is the name for Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wider peer group, as coined by them.
    • 8. The Spook School was an initially derogatory name for the Glasgow Four - Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Herbert MacNair, Margaret and Frances MacDonald - as some critics derided their style for incorporating “ghostly” figures in their designs.
    • 9. The name for a group of figurative painters in Glasgow in the 1980s, including Stephen Campbell, Ken Currie and Peter Howson, who had all been students at The Glasgow School of Art.
    • 10. Turner Prize winners who have studied at GSA include Douglas Gordon (1996), Simon Starling (2005) and Martin Boyce (2011).
    • 11. BBC Scotland programme from the Imagine series, 2012. Directed by Colin Murray, the programme: “…explores the story of a group of artists and curators who stormed the international art world and turned their home city of Glasgow into a global capital for contemporary art.”
    • 12. The Flower and the Green Leaf exhibition explored the lives and work of GSA's staf and students during the early twentieth century.
    • 13. The exhibition title Restore Us and Regain is from Book One of John Milton's Paradise Lost.
    • 14. Matei Bejenaru (RO), Ross Birrell (UK), Francis Cape (USA), Jens Haaning (DK), David Harding (UK), Ângela Ferreira (PT), Eva Merz (DK).
    • 15. Information came from the George Orwell Archive, University College London.
    • 16. The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) was commissioned by Victor Gollancz and published by the Left Book Club, and documented Orwell's observations of poverty in the north east of England before the Second World War.
    • 17. At The Glasgow School of Art Exhibitions Department, the workforce of invigilators is made up from fifteen students. They come from all disciplines, and all year groups, undergraduate and postgraduate. From working with the department in this capacity, they gain professional development and also the chance to spend time in the space thinking about the work on show, perhaps thinking how it links to what they are making.
    • 18. In neuropsychology, an engram is a hypothetical means by which memory traces are stored as physical changes in the brain.
    • 19. Sam Ainsley (UK), Helena Almeida (PT), Alasdair Gray (UK), Joan Jonas (USA), Běla Kolářová (Czech Republic), Michael Kidner (UK), Lygia Pape (Brazil).
    • 20. Examples include: Young London, V22, London (2011), an exhibition of 35 young London artists; Nought to Sixty (2008), the Institute of Contemporary Arts' survey show celebrating its 60th anniversary, presenting the work of emerging artists from Great Britain and Ireland; and The Generational: Younger than Jesus (2009), the New Museum in New York, exhibiting work of 145 artists under 33 years old.
    • 21. Studio 58 Women Artists in Glasgow since World War II, edited by Dr Sarah Lowndes, published by The Glasgow School of Art (2012), includes accounts of several generations of women artists who have either studied or taught at The Glasgow School of Art.
    • 22. Inhale, Exhale was part of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2010. A publication is available, with text by Michelle Cotton.
    • 23. Folkert de Jong (b. 1972) studied at the Rijksakademie of Fine Art in Amsterdam. In 2012 he designed costumes and props for the theatre play Troilus and Cressida by the Wooster group and The Royal Shakespeare Company. De Jong has exhibited widely internationally, including solo exhibitions at James Cohan Gallery, New York; Luis Adelantado Gallery, Mexico City; Kunsthalle Winterhur, Switzerland; Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK. Group exhibitions include Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture, The Saatchi Gallery, London, UK (2011); Monumental: Contemporary Figurative Sculpture, Herbert Johnson Museum of Art New York (2010) and the Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (2010). www.studiofolkertdejong.com.
    • 24. The Immortals was commissioned by The Glasgow School of Art in association with Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2012 with support from the Mondriaan Fund.
    • 25. Caesura, Reid Gallery, The Glasgow School of Art (2014) included commissions by GSA graduates Heaven Baek, Raydale Dower and Briggs & Cole, in response to the architecture of the new building, and the particular time it marked in the art school's 170 year history. A caesura denotes a brief, silent pause in poetry or music, during which metrical time is not counted. This inaugural exhibition was intended to act as a caesura; a pause in time and the beginning of a new chapter for the art school.
    • 26. The Magazine, a student publication by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his peers can be viewed at http://www.gsathemagazine.net/. Four volumes, a magazine for each season, were produced between 1893 and 1896.
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